Cross-Atlantic event explores unemployment and social deprivation challenges and opportunities

13 April 2018

Housing and employment charity, Give us a Chance (GUAC), Learning and Work Institute and New York-based social research organization, MDRC, have hosted their first real-time joint event. Delegates from New York City and London explored the employment challenges that social housing tenants face, and the work that both cities are doing to help people into work.

Providing keynote addresses, London’s Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, and New York City’s Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development, Maria Torres-Springer, both outlined how their cities are tackling unemployment and social deprivation challenges affecting many social housing and other subsidized tenants.

With an audience drawn from housing associations, investors, think tanks, city planners, service providers, researchers, and commissioners, this joint London-New York event marked a step-change in dialogue between the two cities, in considering the shared challenges facing social housing and low-income tenants.

GUAC MD, Lynsey Sweeney said “In these global cities, where wealth and opportunity can seem abundant, too many social housing and city tenants are getting left behind. In both London and New York City, social housing tenants are more likely to be out of employment and training than any other housing tenure group. Sharing experiences between these two cities is an important first step in continuing to improve opportunities for social housing and city tenants in London and New York City.”

James Riccio of MDRC noted that “both London and New York are striving to transform their respective social housing systems into more effective platforms for employment and economic mobility, and the innovations and evidence they are each producing are clearly relevant across the Atlantic.”

Stephen Evans, CEO of Learning and Work Institute, said, “New York and London face some common challenges in supporting people in social housing to improve their skills and access employment and opportunities more broadly. Both cities have also taken some common approaches, so it’s really important that we share our experiences and learn from each other. I hope this is the start of an ongoing dialogue.”

Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe said: “The Mayor and I are committed to ensuring Londoners have the skills, education and training they need. We’re developing the first stand-alone skills strategy for London and a number of skills programmes in collaboration with a range of stakeholders – including housing providers – to help build a skills system which better meets businesses’ needs. This makes economic sense, both in helping employers and Londoners to get the skills they need, but also supporting the Mayor’s plans to significantly increase the delivery of genuinely affordable homes.”